Three Times I Predicted the Future

I took a parcel to be returned to Amazon to the shop around the corner and I realised I’d predicted this in Recursion. It might not seem that big a deal, but when I wrote my first novel a communication shop seemed a pretty good extrapolation of the world at the time. Back then if you wanted to return a parcel you had to go to the post office.

Better than that, though, is when I thought people lying in bed sending text messages in the middle of the night. This is was in my story Restoring the Balance, Too, first published in Interzone. Texting was a new thing, and it occurred to me that people feeling lonely in the night might speak to their friends in this manner.

Lots of other people had the same idea, of course, but it was original to me at the time and I got really quite excited by the possibilities.

All of this sounds pretty mundane, I’m sure.

And all of this is pretty irrelevant. SF isn’t there to predict the future, but to extrapolate the present, and getting it right doesn’t make a good story. Still, there’s a quiet sense of satisfaction on getting it right slightly ahead of every one else.

The third time I predicted the future was when I wrote about the robots on Penrose, but you’ll have to wait a couple of hundred years to see that one come true.

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